Coming up on budget toward the end of the month? I’m going to give you three ways to stay under – one an absolute quick-fix solution and two tried-and-true methods that you should be performing regardless of spend projections.

Reduce campaign budgets

This simple exercise is a good way to ensure you come in under budget, but it’s imperfect. The problem is that for accounts that you know can spend the set budget, your ads won’t run later in the day if you reduce that budget.

But let’s take a look anyway. If your budget for the month is $30,000 for 30 days, and you’ve spent $17,000 in 15 days, you’ll need to reduce your budgets. First, what is left of your budget? You’ve got $13,000. How many days are left? There are 15. This means you have $866.66 each day, and in order to come in at budget you’ll need to drop campaign budgets by 13%. I’d take from the worse-converting campaigns first, but as I mentioned earlier, this isn’t a permanent solution – only a quick fix if needed.

Hour-of-Day Analysis

I use a minimum look-back window of 30 days before making any major changes to an account. In the campaign view, click on Segment > Time > Hour of day. If there are any times for your campaigns where CPA is 2X your target, simply reduce bids by 50% during that time. This will save budget and is something that should be re-evaluated once a month regardless of budget constraints.

Day of Week Analysis

Similar to Hour-of-Day analysis, this can help reduce CPA. You’ll want to ensure that your look-back window starts on a Monday and ends on a Sunday so that you’re looked at a full 7-day week. If weekends/other days have a CPA 2X your target, reduce by 50% for those days. Note that a longer look-back window is advised here.

There are other sculpting exercises that will help reduce your overall budget, but I think these two are the most effective, especially if you’re coming up on budget toward the end of the month. Coming in a dollar under budget is always a nice pat on the back and helps build EQ with your client.


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Carson Van Gelder
Carson Van Gelder is an account manager at 3Q Digital. Before 3Q Digital he lead Coca-Cola's field marketing team in Northern California. If you want to know where to find him, just follow the music.